Entries in Peter Svidler (12)
In case Dortmund and the ACP Golden Classic aren't enough to keep your interest, two more major events are coming your way. Biel starts Monday - today for some of you, tomorrow for others - and looks quite attractive. The main event is a six-player double round-robin, starring Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Radoslaw Wojtaszek, Pentala Harikrishna, Alexander Motylev (the graybeard of the event, the 35-year-old Russian is the only player in the event not in his 20s), and women's world champion Hou Yifan.
The second event is an eight-game rapid match between Boris Gelfand and Peter Svidler, taking place in Jerusalem from July 20-24 (HT: Chess Today). The games will be followed by live video interviews, which is especially welcome with post-mortem world champion Svidler at the helm.
With the Olympiad starting August 1, this is a great stretch for those who not only like to play but enjoy watching the game as well.
Some pleasant recent offerings on Chess24:
Two pieces on the 12th World Chess Champion, Anatoly Karpov. The most recent one has Karpov look back at his unplayed match with Bobby Fischer, offer a short comment about the Magnus Carlsen-Viswanathan Anand match(es) and a recollection of meeting Salvador Dali. The older one offers a transcript of a Russian film that had already been available on YouTube for some time, but now English readers unfamiliar with Russian can enjoy it. It is a documentary of Karpov's training camp before the aforementioned (non-) match with Fischer. Fans of Tigran Petrosian will also want to check this out, to see him play a little blitz and hear his voice (as he's engaged in some mild trash talk with Rafael Vaganian).
Then it's time for Mikhail Tal, courtesy of Peter Svidler. There's a short interview with Svidler in which he discusses (among other things) his new video series on Tal, which is, I suspect, probably available only to members of the site. If you're a member I think you'll enjoy it, but I wouldn't really recommend signing up if this is your only reason for doing so. (Unless money is no object to you, in which case there are certain bloggers who would appreciate your support.)
At least two things struck me about the series, which I have watched in its entirety. The first is the strong emotional bond Svidler shows towards Tal, one of deep respect and feeling. The second, somewhat ironically, is a sense in many of the games that his opponents played extraordinarily poorly (at least/certainly by Svidler's standards), to a degree that one almost wonders if there has been rating deflation over the past few decades, at least if ratings are taken to represent objective strength.
A more modest claim is that they played very poorly (compared with their peers today) in the kinds of complicated positions that Tal created, which may very well be the case. Additionally, our improved skill in such positions today is explained in part by the fact that Tal arrived and forced the world to adapt, and even more by the presence of computers, which have done much to improve players' awareness of tactical resources. Whatever the story, the videos are enjoyable, so watch them if you can.
The Vugar Gashimov Memorial starts tomorrow, and the pairings for the A-group look like this:
- Magnus Carlsen - Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
- Hikaru Nakamura - Fabiano Caruana
- Sergey Karjakin - Teimour Radjabov
Play starts at 3 p.m. local time in Baku/Noon CET/6 a.m. ET, and on chess24 Peter Svidler will be giving live commentary.
So far, chess24 is putting out some nice material, including this concluding report, complete with annotated games and interviews. A tease: Grischuk explains his infamous comment about Kramnik's "bad preparation".
Round 5 of the Candidates' was very exciting, even if there was only one decisive game.
Viswanathan Anand came into the round in first place, and though playing Black would presumably have his chances against tailender Dmitry Andreikin. Indeed, Anand did manage to achieve an advantage, but Andreikin defended well and held the draw.
The marquee game saw Vladimir Kramnik take on Levon Aronian, and Kramnik played very energetically and obtained what he thought was a winning position. He was certainly pushing, but Aronian defended terrifically up until 33...Bxd5, which was a serious error that went unpunished. (Both 33...exf1Q/R+ and 33...hxg5 sufficed to hold.) Had Kramnik played 35.Rg1 he would have had a winning position, but after missing it the result was a rook ending where Kramnik's extra pawn wasn't enough to win.
Peter Svidler joined Kramnik and Aronian in second, half a point behind Anand, by winning against Veselin Topalov. Svidler showed his naivety (his word) by following an earlier game he played against Antoaneta Stefanova and walked into some strong preparation and a difficult position. It wasn't as bad as Svidler made it sound in his characteristically self-deprecating manner, but Topalov did have an advantage. Shades of the old Topalov, but once the preparation ended the flashes were gone. Svidler played very well and Topalov didn't, and he (Svidler) won pretty convincingly.
Finally, Sergey Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov played a pretty calm draw in a Moscow Variation Sicilian, of all things. Karjakin is a player who characteristically heads for main lines, the sharper the better, so it was odd to see him play the quiet 3.Bb5+. Against a weaker player he might have been able to achieve something with the position after 15.Qxd4, but Mamedyarov did a fine job of neutralizing White's efforts and the game soon leveled out into a drawn rook ending. Black made it look easy, but there were some problems to solve.
The games are here, with only the lightest comments (zeitnot here, but maybe fuller comments will come later), and here are tomorrow's pairings (as usual, player scores are given in parentheses):
- Aronian (3) - Andreikin (1.5)
- Anand (3.5) - Karjakin (2)
- Mamedyarov (2) - Svidler (3)
- Topalov (2) - Kramnik (3)
If you've been watching top level chess on the internet for any time now, you'll know that when it comes to post-game press conferences, Peter Svidler is quite the talker. He is wonderfully articulate even in English, though it is not his native tongue, and just as a matter of personality he loves to talk. Whenever I've seen him at such a conference, he has dominated the proceedings.
Likewise Vladimir Kramnik. While he is not as eloquent in English as Svidler, his grasp of the language is certainly very good, and he too tends to dominate press conferences. His style is a little different - a bit more variation heavy and shorter on psychological narration, but his conferences are enjoyable and impressive as well.
So what would happen when these two shared the spotlight in a post-game presser? Further, how would they cope with the regular interruptions necessitated by the need to have their comments translated into Russian?
The fascinating result can be seen below, starting at the 5:31:10 mark. I can't recall ever seeing anything like it before, but it was pretty amazing, almost savage. Enjoy!
Peter Svidler is a great player, but I'm still surprised that he was chosen by the Russian organizers of the 2014 Candidates' tournament as their wildcard selection. (HT to Daniel Parmet for alerting me to this.) Svidler just won his 7th Russian Championship, but rated #13 in the world compared to his fellow Russian and world #5 Alexander Grischuk, he seemed the less likely choice. Apparently, according to Chess Today's report on this interview, it was Svidler's strong performance in this year's Candidates' event that persuaded them to give him a second chance.
With that, all the finalists for next year's Candidates' tournament are set. (Sort of.) They are:
1. The loser of the Magnus Carlsen/Viswanathan Anand match.
2. Vladimir Kramnik (World Cup winner)
3. Dmitry Andreikin (World Cup runner-up)
4. Veselin Topalov (Grand Prix series winner)
5. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Grand Prix series runner-up)
6. Levon Aronian (Highest rated player not to qualify by other means)
7. Sergey Karjakin (Second-highest rated player not to qualify by other means)
8. Peter Svidler (Organizer's wildcard pick)
The last day of the 2013 Russian Championship was an exciting one. The spectators got their money's worth! Peter Svidler came into the last round with a half point lead over Vladimir Kramnik and Ian Nepomniachtchi, and had the challenging pairing of Black against Sergey Karjakin. Karjakin tested Svidler's Gruenfeld in the now-old, former main line of the Exchange Variation with 8.Rb1, and Svidler followed the old recipe to a draw.
That left Nepomniachtchi and Kramnik, who just so happened to be playing each other. Kramnik did much of the pushing, and was better for good chunks of the game, though never winning. A draw was just about always there for the taking, but no guts, no glory: he kept pressing, and with 67...Kh3 he was on his way over the edge. Maybe 69...Rd3 or 69...Ng4+ would have kept things together, but 69...b5? got him in trouble, and 71...Nf7 left him lost. (Maybe he didn't see that 75.Bd4 would stop all of his threats?) Nepomniachtchi's good defense and Kramnik's overextension allowed the former to catch Svidler, and so it was on to a rapid tiebreak - two g/15s.
In last year's Russian Championship tiebreak Svidler was eliminated, while Nepomniachtchi's previous tiebreak experience was a good one - he defeated Karjakin in 2010 to win the title of Russian champion. This time around, however, it was Svidler who came through to win his seventh(!) national championship. Svidler won the first game with White and was winning the second game too when Nepomniachtchi offered a match-conceding draw that was accepted.
Congratulations to Peter Svidler!
It didn't take long for the Candidates tournament to heat up. There were four draws in round 1, but all the decisive results the last two days have really stratified the field. Levon Aronian's score of 2.5/3 will pressure the other players to push a bit harder to keep up, while Boris Gelfand and Vassily Ivanchuk's score of half a point out of 3 leaves them almost out of contention already, even with 11 rounds to go.
Let's review the round 3 action. Aronian won on time with Black against Vassily Ivanchuk. Aronian had been winning on the board with a crushing counter-attack after Ivanchuk's kamikaze handling of a Trompowsky-turned-Torre Attack, but in his opponent's time trouble got sloppy and let him off the hook at the board. From a competitive standpoint it didn't matter much, as Ivanchuk had something ridiculous like 15 seconds to make 17 moves, and that simply wasn't going to happen.
Peter Svidler defeated Teimour Radjabov, going to +1 while sending Radjabov back to 50%. Svidler's preparation on the white side of a Saemisch King's Indian was excellent, and Radjabov's attempt to handle it in a Benko Gambit style didn't give him anything for the pawn. Svidler had a hiccup on move 38 when he didn't play 38.Rc1, but that was just an aesthetic blemish; Svidler still won pretty easily and confidently.
The last game to finish saw Magnus Carlsen grind out a win with the black pieces against Boris Gelfand. A misjudgment at the end of the first time control turned a practically sure draw into something a bit less clear, but only the blunder 47.Qxd8+?? turned it into a loss.
Finally, the one draw was a well-played game between Vladimir Kramnik and Alexander Grischuk. Kramnik prepared well and had Grischuk under serious pressure, but a well-timed pawn sacrifice by the latter gave him enough counterplay to hold the draw. Some commentators felt that Kramnik may have had better chances, and Kramnik didn't rule it out, but it was hard to find something that worked for him. They couldn't in the post-game press conference, and the engines don't reveal anything either, at least nothing obvious. (You can see what I did - or didn't come up with - by replaying this and the other round 3 games here.)
Standings After Round 3:
1. Aronian 2.5
2-3. Carlsen, Svidler 2
4-6 Grischuk, Kramnik, Radjabov 1.5
7-8. Gelfand, Ivanchuk .5
Monday is a rest day, and round 4 will be on Tuesday, with the following pairings:
- Carlsen - Grischuk
- Radjabov - Kramnik
- Aronian - Svidler
- Gelfand - Ivanchuk